Te Ao Māori takes a stand against violence
Whānau from Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) to Ōtepoti (Dunedin) are declaring publicly that violence, in all its forms, is unacceptable by signing the E Tu Whānau Charter of Commitment (the Charter) and upholding the kaupapa behind it.
They are challenging themselves, and others, to uphold that tikanga in their own whānau. Many are sharing their personal reasons for signing and encouraging others to do the same, using social media or in face to face interactions. Others signed at recent events like the Ngāi Tahu ‘Hui-a-Iwi’ event in Dunedin (Nov 21-23), the E Tu Wairoa whānau day (Nov 22) in Wairoa and the E Tu Ngāti Porou event in Gisborne (Nov 25).
Earlier in 2015, around 2000 Northlanders signed the Charter on marae, at festivals and during the celebrations on the Treaty Grounds on Waitangi Day. Many others have shared the kaupapa with friends and family in Eastern North Island communities from Opotiki to Flaxmere.
Owning the kaupapa
The rapidly growing E Tu Whānau movement takes a collective stance against violence based on the unique cultural strengths of Te Ao Māori. It was developed by the Māori Reference Group for the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families (MRG) but its strength and effectiveness lies with whānau, hapu and iwi throughout out the country who recognise its kaupapa as their own.
Strong whānau sit at the very heart of this kaupapa – E Tu Whānau encourages and celebrates the people and the actions that help to make whānau strong. Supporters are clear that change regarding incidences of violence, and other factors feeding the negative statistics that affect Māori disproportionately, will only happen when Māori take leadership and accountability and reclaim the best of their tikanga.
Designed and led by Māori
Chair of the Māori Reference Group, Darrin Haimona, explained that the strength of E Tu Whānau is that it is Māori designed and led.
“We know that the solutions that work best for Māori are those that are grounded in things Māori – E Tu Whānau and this Charter of Commitment recognise that our own unique cultural and spiritual strengths will provide the foundation for change.”
“Our Charter also acknowledges that violence for our people is not traditional – in earlier days, wāhine and tamariki were admired and cherished by our tāne and these loving, harmonious relationships were the envy of settlers and missionary women at the time. We must restore this harmony to our whānau.”
The Charter was launched at Hirangi Marae, Turangi, in August 2014 at an event hosted by Ngāti Tuwharetoa. Since then thousands of people have signed the Charter, either online, on paper, or on a large canvas on marae or at events. A small team at Community Investment, MSD, supports the E Tu Whānau work across the country.